William James, Dirk Elston, James Treat, Misha Rosenbach and Isaac Neuhaus
Published by Elsevier (April 2019)
It is not easy to find a good and reliable dermatology book that attempts to cover the whole specialty with a good selection of illustrations, in a single volume. This book admirably succeeds as being an excellent all-round textbook, as well as possessing a large collection of clear, colour images which are educational in their own right. I am also impressed that this relatively new edition which is now in a healthy and mature 13th edition, is a good all-round general dermatology textbook, appealing to a large audience.
There is a huge amount of subject matter that is covered and is primarily aimed at a professional practicing dermatologist working at the coalface. However, I also think it would also be very useful for a primary care setting, suitable for the interested healthcare professional wanting to learn more about the skin conditions they see commonly and less commonly. It is well written, informative and written with a clinical perspective to not only a good depth but is interesting and makes a good read. It is one of these books that can be relevant to both a specialist and a generalist.
Of course, all the common topics are covered in depth but it is always fun, interesting and stimulating to read about rare and unusual conditions. I had never heard of Red Man Syndrome until reading the description, (Page 123, a degranulation of mastocytes as a result of IV Vancomycin and other antibiotics causing a macular eruption) and it can cause a low enough blood pressure to precipitate a cardiac arrest. Equally the more common problems are given good coverage. For example, on page 267, there is an excellent but succinct description about pitted keratolysis. In the past, I have struggled to find such a good description. There are three references in the literature mentioned about this condition and there are similar collections of references throughout the book.
There are many high quality images throughout the book which adds to the pleasure of reading this book. Some chapters have bonus images mentioned at the end and they can be found in the online resource which is included in the purchase of this book. Once you have registered for the accompanying website and app (by scratching off a code on the inner book cover and enter it into a website) you can access all the images associated with the book. On its own these bonus images represent an excellent resource but you also get the full web version of the book as well as the app. However, the app comes in at a chunky 1.67GB download which could be problematic if you have limited storage room on your device.
Overall this is an excellent book which covers common and less common skin conditions for a wide audience. It is not cheap but if you think of it as a good combined dermatology atlas and textbook which would appeal to both generalists and specialists, within a single volume along with an impressive digital offering included in the price; it may well prove to be cost effective.
Dr Harry Brown